Chamber News

Project Ireland

Waterford Chamber today (16th February 2018) welcomes the publication of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan.

Responding to the publication, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan commented: “Project Ireland 2040 has been years in the making and throughout this period of stakeholder consultation Waterford Chamber, together will all regional Chambers, proactively engaged in submitting recommendations to Government which, we are pleased to note, have significantly impacted upon the final document.

“We are particularly encouraged that priority has been given to delivering the North Quays SDZ regeneration project, as well as the provision of funding for Waterford Institute of Technology to develop as a Technological University, both of which are game changers for Waterford.

“We now have the opportunity to develop as a Centre of Excellence for Disruptive Technology, particularly paying reference to the €500m Innovation Fund announced today. This will compliment the existing businesses which have contributed significantly to the region heretofore. 

“While we welcome the commitment to improved connectivity to Dublin and Cork, we feel for the South East region to develop to its full potential, connectivity with Limerick and onto the Western corridor must be given priority. We will continue to work on behalf of our members and the wider business community to deliver this and have made a submission to the Southern Regional Assembly to this effect.

“The commitment to invest significantly in public transport is laudable and, along with the emphasis on re-developing brownfield spaces, will enhance our city environments and reduce urban sprawl, thus improving the quality of life and the attractiveness of the Waterford City region as a great place to live, work and do business in.”

Speaking on behalf of Waterford Chamber’s Retail Advisory Group, chairperson Jacqui Kielthy said: “We welcome the development of the North Quays, which will enhance the existing retail offering and go a long way towards addressing the estimated €350m retail leakage from the South East region. We look forward to meeting with representatives from Al Hokair and determining how we can work together to deliver a quality experience for the increased footfall.”

Join Waterford Chamber on Tuesday, February 27th in Garter Lane Arts Centre at 7.30am for a panel discussion led by John Moran, Former Secretary General at the Department of Finance & Director, European Investment Bank.

CSR for SMEs Guide

Chambers Ireland has published a CSR for SMEs Guide which outlines the benefits of CSR and ways that SMEs can engage, including the offer of one-on-one meetings with CSR experts from Chambers Ireland's Policy Council at a location convenient to them, and free of charge.

This is an excellent opportunity for an SME to develop a plan for CSR in their company with the help of an expert.

Click here to download the CSR for SMEs Guide.

01Business Awards Launch

Thirty-three of Waterford’s top businesses have been shortlisted for the fourth annual Waterford Business Awards, organised by Waterford Chamber and media partners WLR.

The gala awards ceremony will take place on Friday, February 23rd in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort, where the selected businesses will be celebrated for their extraordinary contribution to the economic life of Waterford.

Speaking about the awards, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan said, “This is the fourth year of the Waterford Business Awards and the calibre of entrants continues to grow year on year. There is an air of positivity in Waterford right now and these awards will certainly add to that by showcasing the outstanding work that is going on in Waterford City and County. We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support and look forward to a great night of celebration on February 23rd in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort.”

Commenting on the decision making process Frank O’Regan, Chairperson of the Judging Panel, said, “We are now into our fourth year of judging the Waterford Business Awards and I think it’s fair to say this has been the toughest one yet! The innovation, creativity and determination is so impressive and having reviewed each application, I can confidently say the future is bright for business in Waterford.”

The shortlisted businesses were nominated by the public and also through self-nomination for the eleven categories. An independent judging panel, chaired by Frank O’Regan and including David Breen, David M. Breen & Co; Liam Moran, Faithlegg House Hotel; Lena Murphy, WLR; John Noonan, Flahavans; Louise Grubb, Q1 Scientific; Tina Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel, TV Honan, Spraoi; Noel Kelly, NYPRO and Richie Walsh, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, decided upon the finalist shortlist after a rigorous judging analysis of each application. 

Three businesses have been shortlisted for each of the eleven categories and the winners of those categories will then go head to head in the hope of claiming the Overall Waterford Business of the Year, sponsored by Waterford City & County Council. A Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Dawn Meats, will also be presented to an individual chosen by the judging panel and will only be revealed on the night.

The Waterford Business Awards shortlist includes the following businesses.

WBA Shortlist 2018

Commenting on today’s (22nd January 2018) announcement of a formal agreement on the leveraging of a total of €300m for the Brexit Loan Scheme for Irish businesses, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, "We welcome today’s formal agreement, which aligns with our consistent recommendations for state-guaranteed supports for Irish businesses to diversify into new markets. Indeed, this was one of our central recommendations in our Pre-Budget Submission 2018 last year, which called for an Export Working Capital Scheme to help SMEs meet the challenges arising from Brexit.

"The Loan Scheme is a clear commitment and a positive step by Government to help Irish businesses prepare for the unique issues facing them in light of Brexit. We also urge businesses to engage with these opportunities. The responses from Irish businesses in last year’s EUROCHAMBRES survey identified Brexit as their number one challenge. While challenges remain, opportunities such as today’s announcement and the ratification of last year’s EU-Japan trade agreement are beginning to manifest."

8th December 2017: Chambers Ireland welcomes Brexit guarantee of ‘no hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland, following this morning’s announcement that both negotiating teams are ready to move into the second phase of talks.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot commented:

"We welcome UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to upholding the Good Friday Agreement with a guarantee of no hard border on the island of Ireland and congratulate all parties on reaching a successful outcome. The business community particularly welcomes news that that there will be an Irish chapter of trade negotiations going into phase two of the talks. Ensuring that Ireland’s unique circumstances will continue to be recognised as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations is a remarkable achievement on behalf of the Government.

"However great uncertainties remain for businesses. We emphasise the urgency of starting second phase talks as soon as possible so that when the inevitable complications emerge, they can be addressed early in the process.  

"The need for a realistic timeframe for transition must also be addressed. The complexity of issues that business will face following the UK’s departure from the EU is likely to require a transition period lasting several years and ensuring agreement on this must be a focus of the next round of negotiations."

ESB Networks BB

ESB Networks Area Manager John Morrissey briefed members of Waterford Chamber on the latest developments in infrastructure, the electrification of heat and transport and smart technology for business in Dooley’s Hotel as part of a series of events throughout the country.

Following the meeting, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan said, “The briefing enabled the members to learn about the business opportunities that improving electricity infrastructure and technology will bring to Waterford.

“An adequate provision of electricity is essential for the business community. ESB Networks has made progress in addressing the infrastructure needs at a local level and has ensured that vital projects have been connected. Continued improvement to our infrastructure will be crucial in the coming years as businesses expand. The briefing offered us the opportunity to learn about the work currently being undertaken and about plans for the future.”

Echoing this sentiment John Morrissey of ESB Networks said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to update businesses on the investment in electricity services at a local level. It’s also an opportunity to connect with businesses to inform them of improvements to ensure cost effective supply and the opportunities in the sector such with electric vehicles and smart technology.” 

Chamber Network launch new brand

Waterford Chamber, as a member of the Chambers Ireland network, launched a new brand today, reflecting their strength and influence as a member of the collaborative network.

Launching the new brand, Chamber President Paul Nolan said, “Waterford Chamber is delighted to unveil our new logo and tagline. We are proud to represent our members and we are committed, more than ever, to enhancing our local community and working together to create and advance business opportunities for all. Being part of the largest business network in the country enhances our abilities to speak out on our members behalf and affect change in the policy areas our business community requires.”

“With business in Ireland preparing for the outcomes of Brexit and discussion on the Future of Europe, we believe that Waterford Chamber provides a crucial and consistent engagement with stakeholders, enabling our members to thrive in the ever evolving environment.

Echoing this sentiment Ian Talbot of Chambers Ireland said, “Founded in 1923, with some of our members dating back as far as the 1700’s, we have substantial history, knowledge and a consistent background as the voice of the business community. Today, Chambers are more relevant than ever. As the needs of business change, we are consolidating our ability to adapt and meet the needs of our members through engagement, active listening and calls to action. Our lobbying targets issues relevant to all businesses large and small, foreign and domestic tied together by location.”

“Our new logo and tagline, Advancing business together, illustrates the ethos of Chambers across the country, reflecting the work being done on behalf of our members in many different spheres including lobbying Local Government, National Government and the EU to shape policy and deliverables, as well as representing the concerns of business to relevant stakeholders.”

Red to Work

WLR and Waterford Chamber will join forces this Christmas in the hope of raising tens of thousands for the local St. Vincent de Paul through the ‘Red to Work’ Campaign.

‘Red to Work’ day is now an annual event in Waterford’s work place calendar with hundreds of businesses and work places encouraging staff to wear red and show support for the annual WLR Christmas Radio Appeal.

This year Waterford Chamber is excited to support the event which will take place on Friday December 15th. Waterford Chamber will use its network to reach out to members and encourage them to take part in the ‘Red to Work’ appeal and hopefully increase funds raised through the day long event.

Waterford Chamber Chief Executive Gerald Hurley says, “Through our close connection with the business community in Waterford, the team at Waterford Chamber believes we can greatly assist WLR in making ‘Red to Work’ a huge flagship fundraiser for the Christmas Appeal. It’s a fun initiative for the business community to take part in, allowing staff to get in the Christmas spirit and, in turn, give back to those who are in need in our community.”

‘Red to Work’ Day is just one of the many events hosted as part of the WLR ‘Be a little Star’ Christmas Appeal which hopes to raise in total over €60k this December for the SVdP. Other events include a VIP Auction, Farmview Auction, Star Wars Midnight Screening, Care for a Cuppa Coffee Morning and many more.

For more information or to register your business for ‘Red to Work’ Day see the website www.Christmasappeal.ie or contact WLR Christmas Appeal Coordinator Roisin Ferris on 051-846112.

Speaking after Tánaiste and Minister for Business Frances Fitzgerald announced an agreement with European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to establish the working group, Sarah Freeman, Director of Policy and Communications of Chambers Ireland commented:

“The announcement today that a working group on business supports to deal with challenges of Brexit for business will be established is very welcome. It will bolster Ireland’s response to Brexit and help businesses explore new markets while strengthening their links to existing ones. Our SMEs are particularly vulnerable to changes as a result of the UK leaving the EU and additional supports to help assess and plan for these unique challenges will be very helpful.

Through this working group, Irish officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will liaise with Commission officials on an ongoing basis and will be in a position to advise businesses about any potential future supports. The recently released results of the European Economic Survey 2018 revealed that Brexit is the number one concern of Irish businesses for the year ahead. It is crucial that the right supports are in place so that businesses can respond to the unknown challenges and get the right help in response to their particular needs.”

EES 2018 Infographic 1A survey of European businesses, published today (8th November 2017) by EUROCHAMBRES, has revealed that Brexit is not considered a concern for most companies.

The survey, which was conducted in autumn 2017 and had over 50,000 respondents from 23 countries across Europe, asked businesses to rank the main challenges they believed they faced in 2018. While Irish firms identified the impact of Brexit as the biggest challenge to the development of their business only 9.2% of European businesses registered Brexit as a challenge at all.

Commenting on the results, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland and Deputy President of Eurochambres said, “This survey confirms that Irish businesses are feeling significantly more exposed to the impact of Brexit than businesses in the rest Europe. While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business given our proximity to the UK and the importance of our trading relationship, it is alarming that businesses across Europe are not more concerned by the potential impact of the loss of the EU’s second biggest market.”

“From our engagement with our European partners we knew that for many countries Brexit was a peripheral issue. They are more concerned with the provision of security for their citizens, job creation and the economic security of the Euro zone. However, we believe there is a role to play for Ireland’s business community to help our counterparts in Europe understand that unless a practical approach to Brexit negotiations is adopted, we all stand to lose out in terms of reduced economic growth, investment and jobs.”

Key findings of EES 2018:

  • Lack of skilled workers ranks 2nd (compared to 4th last year) among the challenges for 2018.
  • The prospect of Brexit is the number 1 challenge only for Irish businesses, scoring much lower in most of the other EES 2018 participating countries.
  • Domestic sales expectations rise slightly compared to last year, but seemingly remain a source of uncertainty for businesses, as domestic demand is again ranked the top challenge.
  • Export sales within and beyond the EU are higher than in 2017, despite the uncertain geo-political situation.
  • Employment expectations exceed the levels of the pre-crisis period for the first time.
  • Investment forecasts continue their upward trend, reflecting improving financing conditions and persisting low interest rates.

About the European Economic Survey

The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES) is an annual qualitative survey of business expectations across Europe. The survey is implemented by the network of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBRES.

The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges.

For EES 2018, around 50,000 businesses from 23 countries responded during autumn 2017.

Businesses from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey participated in the survey.

Over 200 companies in Ireland participated in the survey.

The EES findings will be launched in Brussels on Wednesday, 8th November.

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – full report

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – infographic

Chamber EU VisitA delegation from the Irish Chamber of Commerce Network, led by Chambers Ireland, today (7th November 2017) are meeting with key officials from across the European Commission to discuss matters of importance to the Irish business community.

With representation from Chambers of Commerce across Ireland, the objective of the trip is to highlight the need for the European Commission to proactively engage with the business community, particularly SMEs, on issues like trade, innovation and skills.

Speaking in Brussels today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “When the UK exits the European Union in 2019, it will become even more important for the voice of Irish business to be heard in Brussels. While Brexit may be dominating headlines in Ireland, it is dramatically less newsworthy on the continent.

The EU is facing many challenges, including skills gap, ongoing difficulties with access to finance, promoting trade, reforming taxation and improving security. The Irish business community must be to the fore in promoting its position and its interests to EU leaders. Although we are strongly of the view that Ireland’s economic future can only be secured if it remains at the heart of a strong Europe, we also believe that the EU must evolve and adapt in these changing times and recognise the unique difficulties which will arise for Irish businesses. The voice of Irish business must be expressed and listened to and heard.

“The Chamber Network will brief various European decision makers on the key concerns of Irish business. Even with the highest rates of growth in the EU, we are a small open economy and we are considerably exposed to external forces and the uncertainty stemming from Brexit. We must ensure that the European Commission continues to support growth, job creation and innovation.”

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What Our Members Say

“Tom Murphy Car Sales Ltd has been a member of Waterford Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years. It’s a membership that serves us well as we find it gives us a platform to interact with similar businesses and puts us in front of a wide audience. Having staged a number of very successful Chamber events, both at our dealership on the Cork Road and at venues chosen by the Chamber, it really puts into perspective the value of networking and meeting with potential customers face to face. We intend to continue the partnership between Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Tom Murphy Car Sales into the future, as the results speak for themselves and we see the value in being a member of Waterford Chamber.”

Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales

 

 

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